By Oded Borowski

When you look at a map of the Middle East, you may notice many place names that include as their element the word “tell.” You can find names beginning with “tell” in Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. In Arabic and Hebrew, the word “tell” means “a mound, a ruin-heap, a hill on which a city stood”—an ancient buried city. When the Arabic word is written in English it is spelled “tell”; the Hebrew word is spelled “tel” in English.

How to Tell a Tell

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